Leak Street High School is going to move its students over to share a building with Richmond County Transitional students this school year, but the unique identities of the two programs will remain separate.
“The plan is to have two schools on the one campus,” said Leak Street Principal Daryl Mason. “The gymnasium is the dividing point on campus, and that facility will be shared.”
Mason said that letters were sent to parents during the summer, asking them to set up meetings and discuss the transition.
“I’ve been meeting with parents all summer,” he said.
Transportation for students attending both Leak Street and the Transitional School will remain the same. Students will ride their usual buses to Richmond Senior High School, where they will then board Leak Street and Transitional School buses for a ride to the other campus.
There are typically less than 100 students who attend the Transitional School, which is made up of ninth and tenth graders. Anywhere from 80 to 125 students are expected to be enrolled in Leak Street High School, which accepts students from seventh to twelfth grades.
The schools have been faced with staffing difficulties in the past, and have had to rely on borrowing teachers from Richmond Senior High to teach between both locations.
Additionally, the campus at Leak Street doesn’t offer students a cafeteria. Lunches have been prepared at the Transitional School and taken to Leak Street students.
To add to the complications of operating two campuses, the schools are facing about a million dollar federal funding drop.
“The utility bills alone at Leak Street are about $4,000 each month,” said Superintendent George Norris.
Combining the students on one campus should allow the programs to become more cost and time efficient.
“I know that for me and my students, there will be many benefits to moving Leak Street to the Transitional School campus,” said Mason. “The facilities are much better there, the Leak Street students will all be on the same floor and now our main office will be accessible to parents and grandparents without having to take the stairs. That was difficult for some people.”
Susan Brigman will remain the principal of the Transitional School.
The possibility of selling the Leak Street High School campus to the Leak Street Alumni Association has been discussed.
“Dr. Norris spoke with the Alumni about the possibility of purchasing the property, if we wanted it,” said Alumni board member and project directory JC Watkins. “We’ve orally accepted the offer, and are now waiting for the process to move forward. We don’t have plans for the property yet, but believe that it can continue to be an asset to the community in the long run.”
The name Leak Street High School will continue to be used this year, because the school received a technology grant and a name change could jeopardize eligibility. Potentially re-naming the school in the future has been discussed.
Leak Street High School is located at 1004 Leak Street in Rockingham. The Transitional School is located at 377 Mizpah Road in Rockingham, and was formerly known as Ashley Chapel School.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.